HILO, Hawaii (KHON2) — To honor the 100th birthday of the late Merrie Monarch Festival director Aunty Dottie Thompson a new sign was put up at the Merrie Monarch Festival headquarters.
The sign at headquarters by Kalanikoa and Pi’ilani Streets says Auntie Dottie Thompson Hale.
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The festival had no permanent home until 2009, when Mayor Billy Kenoi let them use the building where the finance department used to work. Councilmember Sue Lee Loy introduced legislation naming the building in Aunty Dottie’s honor, which was passed by the Hawai’i County Council in 2018.
In 1968, Aunty Dottie became the executive director of the festival. The work she and her team did made it what it is today. Aunty Dottie passed away in 2010. Her daughter Aunty Luana Kawelu took over running the festival.
The Merrie Monarch Festival is my mom’s legacy. She worked so hard, gave so much. This building being named after her means a lot to us, and it would have meant a lot to her. We appreciate being able to be here, we don’t have to worry about moving every time.Aunty Luana Kawelu, daughter of Auntie Dottie Thompson